Do you have a beautiful, full, dark green exotic palm tree as a houseplant? Do you have exotic palms as part of your landscaping? If you have pets or livestock that can access these plants you may want to rethink the use of them in your garden.
The beautiful flowering shrub adjacent to your porch may have a sinister side to it. Don’t let those colorful blooms fool you. Cuttings from these bushes may be toxic to your pets and livestock.
Tall fescue (Festuca elatior or F. arundinace) is among the most common cool season pasture grasses grown in North America and in other countries having a temperate climate. Almost all of the pasture planted before 1980 is infected with Neotyphodium coenophialum, a microscopic fungus or endophyte. "Endophyte" describes the location of the fungal growth within the grass as endo=within and phyte=plant.
The castor bean plant (Ricinus communis) or palma christi is a common ornamental houseplant with large, palmated, lobed leaves that may be found in almost any location in the United States. The plant is also grown for the manufacturing of castor oil. This same plant has a more sinister side and may be used to produce a potent phytotoxin called ricin.
The “Easter” or “trumpet lily”, whose scientific name is Lilium longiflorum, is a plant which is grown from bulbs. The plant itself has large, showy, funnel-formed flowers. The trumpet lily is popular at Easter, and for many it is symbolic of the resurrection of Christ. Sales of these lilies at Easter help to make them the fourth most popular selling potted plant in the United States. Unfortunately, these short-lived plants can shorten the life of your cat to days when eaten.
As much as we may like to kiss under mistletoe, we humans don’t usually eat it. But our pets may have other ideas.
Natural cat attractants include more than 100 plant species that produce terpenoid-based organic chemicals that elicit responses from domestic cats. Of these plant species, a herb known as catnip is the most appealing attractant to most cats. Catnip or catmint (Nepeta cataria) is a perennial herb in the mint family Labiateae. Approximately 70 to 90% of all cats possess the genetic ability to respond to the active ingredients in catnip. The scent is the primary attractant.